You may start by seeing a primary care doctor or an emergency care doctor, or you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases or in lung disease (pulmonologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect.
What you can do
- Keep a record of any symptoms, including your temperature.
- Write down key medical information, including recent hospitalizations and any medical conditions you have.
- Write down key personal information, including exposure to any chemicals or toxins, or any recent travel.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking, especially an antibiotic left over from a previous infection, as this can lead to a drug-resistant pneumonia.
- Bring a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember questions to ask and what your doctor said.
- Write down questions to ask the doctor.
Some basic questions to ask the doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- Will I need to be hospitalized?
- I have other health conditions. How will my pneumonia affect them?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions.
What to expect from the doctor
Be ready to answer questions your doctor may ask:
- When did you first start having symptoms?
- Have you had pneumonia before? If so, in which lung?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional? How severe are they?
- What, if anything, seems to improve or worsen your symptoms?
- Have you traveled or been exposed to chemicals or toxic substances?
- Have you been exposed to sick people at home, school or work?
- Do you smoke? Or have you ever smoked?
- How much alcohol do you consume in a week?
- Have you had flu or pneumonia vaccines?
What you can do in the meantime
To avoid making your condition worse:
- Don't smoke or be around smoke
- Drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest